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Barefoot History

By David Gelfand

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May 28, 2014 1:38:00 PM

Many years before the advent of technology, insulated homes, and wire-filled offices, people lived and worked in much more agrarian settings. Life was spent both working on the land and in harmony with it. People often slept directly on the ground, or merely elevated slightly using natural substances such as grass. When walking, shoes used to be made with much more minimalism – with not much more than a thin, leather sole between the foot and the earth.


Needless to say, humans’ contact and relationship to the earth beneath us has transformed greatly. We spend far less time in nature and, more importantly, in contact with nature. Our lives have become constricted to the indoors, with little to no exposure to the natural healing power of the earth.

The concept of Earthing, which Juil’s shoes are based on, tries to re-establish that connection. Recent studies have suggested that walking barefoot, also known as Earthing, may have a profound effect on our health and bodily function. When touching the earth’s surface with our feet, we’re able to normalize our bodies’ frequencies, returning our electric state to one closer to the ground.

But how have other cultures, societies, and people viewed the barefoot lifestyle. How did they interact with and appreciate our necessary connection to the earth? From the book “Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?” we learn a few interesting examples.

  • The Chinese tradition and value of Qi – the essence of any natural, living thing.
    • qigongThe Heaven Qi includes the forces coming from heaven bodies upon the earth (i.e. sunlight and moonlight). The Earth Qi are the patterns of energy and Earth’s magnetic fields (all plants, animals, and humans have their own Qi field).
    • The Earth Qi is believed to be absorbed when one is barefoot. 
    • Many exercises for strengthening one’s mind and body are done barefoot (i.e. yoga and tai chi).
    • The central focus of Chinese pracice involved “growing a root” – this involves the opening of a pathway between your feet/body and the Earth (often done through the “yong quan point,” also known as the Kidney 1 point in acupuncture).


  • Greek Mythology – How Hercules Defeated Antaeus
    • Greek Mythology tells of Antaeus, a Libyan giant who appeared to be invincible to all of his foes. No matter who he challenged to a wrestling match – he won. This was true until the match against Hercules.
    • When facing his foe, Hercules notices that no matter how many times he threw Antaeus off of him and onto the ground, he would bounce right back.
    • It became apparent to Hercules that Antaeus was gaining his strength from his mother, Gaia, the earth. To defeat him, Hercules suspended Antaeus off of the ground until all power and strength was drained of him, completing his victory.


  • Native American ValuesNative-American
    • In all history and knowledge of Native Americans, it’s been known that Native Americans have a profound appreciation and honor for the Earth
    • Ota Kte (Luther Standing Bear) – a writer, leader, and educator in the Lakota Sioux once stated that: “The old people came literally to love the soil. They sat on the grounding with the feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the Earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with their bare feet on the sacred Earth. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing.”

Related Posts:


Ober, Clint et al. Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever! Laguna Beach: Basic Health Publications, Inc., 2014. Print. 

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Topics: Earthing and Grounding

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